DCSN Blog

The Performance Framework Uncovered: Evaluating Student Progress Over Time Part 1

Today we continue our blog series, Performance Framework: Uncovered. Our last post gave you an overview of the Academic Framework piece, but we realize that this piece encompasses so many metrics that it’s worthwhile to take some time and really dig in to each measured category and talk about how these are evaluated and how they play in to the school’s overall rating. So today we are focusing our microscope on “Student Progress over Time” within the Academic Framework.

The Academic Framework has three measures for student growth: 1) the percentage of students making expected growth, 2) the percentage of the lowest performing students making expected growth, and 3) the percentage of students making sufficient growth to maintain or achieve proficiency within three years, or by 10th grade.  As you can see by the chart below, these categories (Measures 1a, 1b, and 1c) are heavily weighted in the overall evaluation of the school’s academic success, particularly in elementary schools. Showing student growth is key to success in the Academic Framework.

The student growth category is big, and requires a good amount of explanation, so we will be breaking this down over the next two days. Let’s dive in to the first measure of “Student Progress Over Time”.

 

Measure 1a: Expected Growth

This section is the most general—Are students in the school making their DCAS growth targets from fall to spring? When students take the DCAS in the fall, they are given a score. The Department of Education has a special formula that calculates growth targets for each student based on their fall scores. These targets take a few things into account: First, students who start with higher scores are expected to make less growth than those who start with lower scores (this is based on research surrounding average student growth collected by the DOE). Second, growth targets are adjusted for students with disabilities and English language learners. Make sure to ask your student’s teacher about their growth target! All year, students work and learn and, hopefully, by the end of the year, students reach their growth goal. Students have the chance to take the spring DCAS twice. The highest score of the two tests is the one used in evaluation. After both rounds of testing, schools then calculate the percentage of students who met or exceeded their growth target and that number determines the school’s rating in this category. Below is a chart that shows the range of percentages that correlates with each of the ratings.

 

Remember, that each of these categories is weighted. This “Expected Growth” category holds one of the higher weights—for elementary and middle schools it holds 17.5% weight and 15% weight for high schools. (These numbers are based on the measurements without mission-specific goals. See the chart at the top of this post for measurements with mission-specific goals.)

 

Tomorrow we'll take a look at measures 1b and 1c-- "Expected Growth of the Lowest Performing Students" and "Growth-to-Proficiency".